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According to style watchers, one of the season’s must-have accessories is the bandana. It’s featured regularly as a head scarf but is just as popular tied around the neck, the wrist, and even onto bags and totes. And here’s the latest fashion flash: you don’t have to use traditional bandana fabric. In fact, many sites and magazines are showing all kinds of patterns and colors. Excellent!

We originally used the vibrant Joie de Vivre collection by Bari J for Art Gallery Fabrics. As an older collection, it is no longer readily available, but no worries — choose your favorite fabric from the newest offerings or dive into your scrap stash… you don’t need much.


These scarves are super fast to make. We used two different finishes for the hems on our scarves, and we offer full, step-by-step tutorials for each: machine sewn rolled hems and narrow hems with neat corners.

Make a classic flat square or follow our steps to add a series of tiny tucks across one half. This adds pretty texture but is still subtle enough so as not to interfere with the overall look of the fabric.

A bundle of bandanas would make a lovely gift. Wrap up several with some hair accessories!

We had tons of fun with our gorgeous model, styling our scarves in eight unique ways – that’s enough options to give you a new look nearly every week of the sunny season!

Bold colors and motifs are a great choice for your scarf selection. They look beautifully vibrant whether flat or folded down into a narrow band.

The flat bandana style finishes at approximately 22” x 22”, the tucked version, about a half inch smaller. This is a standard size for commercial bandanas. You can, of course, adjust the finished square larger or smaller to create your own look and/or make the best use of your fabric cuts.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

NOTE: Quantities shown below are for one bandana, but you certainly need more than one! When using a rolled hem, you can cut two from the recommended ¾ yard and still finish at the standard 22″ square. With a small adjustment to the finished size of the narrow hemmed version to make it about an inch smaller overall, you could also get two from one ¾ yard cut.

  • ¾ yard of 44”+ wide quilting weight cotton
  • All-purpose thread to match fabric
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. If creating a narrow hem version, cut one 23” x 23” square for each scarf.
  2. If created a rolled hem version, cut one 22½” x 22½” square for each scarf.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Flat scarf

  1. Create a narrow double-fold hem along each of the four sides. To do this, fold in the raw edge ¼” and press, then fold in an additional ¼” and press again.
  2. At each corner, follow our tutorial to fold in on the diagonal.
  3. Resulting is a clean, miter-style corner.
  4. For an even smaller hem, use your machine’s rolled hem foot.
  5. Our full rolled hem tutorial shows how to use the Janome Rolled Hem foot, including great tips on starting the hem and turning corners.

Tucked scarf

  1. Use the tutorials linked above to make either a narrow hem or rolled hem around all four sides of your fabric square. We used our Janome Edge Guide foot for a precise seam with our narrow hem.
  2. Find the center of your square on the diagonal. Using a fabric pen or pencil, draw in this diagonal guide line.
  3. Draw in two additional guide lines: one 3” in from the top hemmed edge and one 3” from the perpendicular side hemmed edge.
  4. From the center diagonal line, draw 5 additional parallel diagonal lines, each 1” apart. Each of these five diagonal lines should start and stop on the 3” guide lines.
  5. Remember, you are working on the right side of the fabric. Make sure your fabric pen or pencil is one that will easily wipe away or vanish with exposure to the air or the heat of an iron.
  6. Pinch a tiny bit of fabric – just ⅛” is best – along each drawn diagonal line to create a tiny tuck. Your folded edge should be right along the drawn line.
  7. Fold the rest of the fabric completely out of the way so just the folded edge is slipped under the presser foot. Edgestitch each tiny tuck in place, starting and stoping at the 3” guide lines. Use a lock stitch or a neat backstitch for the best look to each end.
  8. Press all the tucks in the same direction, toward the outside edge of the scarf.
  9. Our tucks are centered, rather than going all the way to each edge, in order to keep their bulk out of the tiny hems. This does result in a bit extra fabric at the corners of the tucked squares, but since the scarf is meant to be tied, this extra is hidden within the knot. And, it’s much easier to keep your hem flat all around, with either a rolled hem or narrow hem, when you aren’t trying to cross over the end of a tuck.
  10. Also, just in case you are wondering, we did try hemming after tucking…
  11. … but it wasn’t nearly as easy as hemming first and tucking second. And since we love fast, hemming then tucking is the order we recommend.


Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Debbie Guild

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4 years ago

What goes around comes around! I drove a convertible back in the sixties and wore a headscarf that was just a simple triangle edged on three sides with narrow bias. On one edge, the bias formed ties. For highway travel, it tied under the chin. Elsewhere, at the nape of the neck. I’ve been thinking about those a lot, being three months overdue for a haircut due to the coronavirus isolation. Now that I’m allowed to go out a little more, and my hairdresser is still closed, I’m going to dig out my rolled hem foot or do one on… Read more »

Liz Johnson
Liz Johnson
4 years ago
Reply to  Momo

@Momo – I know the exact style you are describing – and yes, I think I see a new hair cover on the horizon 🙂

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